SERI was established as a non-profit company in 2009. It is a South African human rights organisation which provides professional assistance to individuals, communities and social movements seeking to protect and advance their socio-economic rights. These are the rights to housing, water, healthcare services, fair labour practices, electricity, sanitation, a clean and healthy environment, education and various children’s rights, which are grounded in South Africa’s Constitution. SERI also seeks to protect the sites within which people campaign for the protection and advancement of these rights. We work to protect the political spaces in which socio-economic rights activists, social movements, community-based organisations, and trade unions are able to express themselves freely, assemble and protest without unjustified state interference, and be free from arbitrary arrest and detention.
SERI’s conviction is that it is the people who are on the receiving end of poverty and inequality who are best placed to devise and implement strategies to challenge them.
SERI therefore seeks to protect the spaces in which ordinary men and women, communities and social movements can set and implement their own agendas for change.
SERI is currently active in seven of South Africa’s nine provinces, but has no particular geographical focus. Much of its work is concentrated in South Africa’s major cities, but it also works in the rural Eastern Cape (supporting the families of the victims of the Marikana massacre), and in the rural North West Province and KwaZulu-Natal (researching, advocating and litigating for land tenure rights).
SERI organises its work under three themes:
Securing a home
Making a living
Expanding political space
Where is Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa